Canada trucker protest - live: Ottawa police chief resigns as Trudeau triggers Emergencies Act

A “complex” and “multi-day” operation has begun to clear “freedom convoy” truckers from streets south of Canada’s parliament building following an agreement between city authorities and protest organisers.

MayorJim Watson confirmed on Monday night that “convoy leaders have started to act on their commitment to move several trucks from the residential district south of Wellington (Street)”, after more than two weeks of protests.

It comes after Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau declared a rare national public order emergency in a bid to end the trucker protest, which stretches into a third week.

The Emergencies Act allows his administration to freeze truckers’ personal and corporate bank accounts, suspend the insurance on their rigs and also tow away vehicles. Mr Trudeau has however ruled out using the military to restore order amid concerns from Canada’s Civil Liberties Association.

For over two weeks, thousands of protesters in trucks and other vehicles have clogged the streets of Ottawa and blocked various US-Canadian border crossings. The most important trade route — the Ambassador Bridge connecting Windsor, Ontario, to Detroit — was reopened on Sunday.

Key Points

Active soldiers under investigation for protest support

17:10 , Oliver O'Connell

The Canadian Armed Forces have acknowledged that at least six active soldiers are under investigation after they showed support for the protest against vaccine mandates and other Covid-19 measures, CBC News reports. It is not clear if they directly participated in the protests in downtown Ottawa.

A report in the Ottawa Citizen that two of those under investigation are part of the JTF2 assault team, the elite counterterrorism unit of the Canadian Forces, has also been confirmed by the network.

“If the allegations are accurate, this is wrong, and it goes against CAF values and ethics,” Major-General Steve Boivin, commander of the Canadian Special Operations Forces, said in a statement.

Canadian police arrest 11 people with massive weapons cache at ‘Freedom Convoy’ protest

16:55 , Oliver O'Connell

Canadian police have arrested 11 people after they found a massive weapons cache at the US-Canada border within a smaller group aligned with the “Freedom Convoy” protest against vaccine mandates for truckers and other Covid-19 public health restrictions.

Alberta Police said in a statement that they “recently became aware of a small organized group within the larger” protest blocking the border crossing in Coutts, which borders Montana in the northwestern US.

Gustaf Kilander reports.

Canadian police arrest 11 people with huge weapons cache at ‘Freedom Convoy’ protest

Ottawa Police chief resigns, says report

16:39 , Oliver O'Connell

Sources tell CBC News that Peter Sloly has resigned as Ottawa’s police chief and will publicly announce he is stepping aside after the Ottawa Police Services Board meeting today.

Government to give details of use of Emergencies Act ‘imminently'

16:20 , Oliver O'Connell

Government House Leader Mark Holland says the government plans to “imminently” introduce a motion to the House of Commons with full details on the use of the Emergencies Act.

‘Trucker Carlson’ ridiculed for calling Justin Trudeau a ‘dictator’

15:50 , Oliver O'Connell

Tucker Carlson was lampooned by social media users after he accused Canada’s prime minister of being a “Stalinist dictator” who “suspended democracy” amid anti-Covid mandate demonstrations.

The Fox News anchor, who was nicknamed “Trucker Carlson” by Twitter users on Monday night, addressed viewers with a tirade against Canada’s Justin Trudeau, whom he claimed had imposed “martial law” on America’s neighbour to the north.

Gino Spocchia reports.

‘Trucker Carlson’ ridiculed for calling Justin Trudeau a ‘dictator’

Ottawa protesters call on Coutts border blockade group to stand ground

15:40 , Oliver O'Connell

“Stand your ground, please don’t leave,” Ottawa convoy organisers plead to Coutts, Alberta truckers in YouTube video released overnight.

Group begins new venture to raise money for truckers and families

15:20 , Oliver O'Connell

A group of self-described organisers of the Ottawa trucker convoy protest has launched a new fundraising venture for families of demonstrators.

The move comes on the same day that crowdfunding platforms were instructed that they must comply with Canadian financial regulations and the federal government authorised banks to freeze accounts suspected of being connected to the protests.

CTV reports that the new crowdfunding venture was announced on Monday at a “Hug A Trucker Press Conference” by Pat King, “a far-right figure who has previously decried the ‘depopulation’ of white people and has posted videos online where he makes racist remarks about Jewish, Muslim and Chinese people”.

The new site, “Freedom Convoy 2022 Family Expense Support” states that its key purpose is to “take care of home and family monthly expenses of truckers on the frontlines”. It was created because the money raised through GiveSendGo is not allocated towards those costs.

“We hope to do this by facilitating the connection between donors and needy families with direct (donor-to-family) e-transfers,” the site says, listing expenses such as mortgages, truck payments, and household utilities.

As of Tuesday morning, $91,710 has been pledged and the site is asking for $225,043.78.

Largest Canadian donation to truckers came from New Brunswick business

14:52 , Oliver O'Connell

The security breach that identified donors to the trucker convoy protest has revealed the largest donation from within Canada came from a New Brunswick-headquartered company with offices across the country.

Brad Howland, president of Easy-Kleen Pressure Systems Ltd, confirmed that he has donated $75,000 to the protest movement that has disrupted life in the Canadian capital for more than two weeks.

Easy-Kleen’s head office is in the village of Sussex Corner in New Brunswick with other offices in Ontario, Alberta, and Nova Scotia, Global News reports.

In a statement, Mr Howland said he had travelled to Ottawa to witness the “beautiful, legal, peaceful protest that overwhelmed us with emotion”.

“We are thankful to be blessed enough to support their efforts to do what they have to do in a peaceful way until the government removes the mandates to restore all our freedom as pre-Covid,” he said.

Sean Hannity calls truckers ‘heroes of the pandemic'

14:05 , Gino Spocchia

Fox News anchor Sean Hannity called “freedom convoy” truckers “heroes of the pandemic” as he responded to prime minister Justin Trudeau’s decision to deploy the country’s Emergencies Act on Monday.

Mr Hannity asked whether the decision was necessary “when five provinces have already gotten rid of the (indoor mask) mandate and the rest of the world is getting rid of their mandates,” and said the “freedom convoy” had been “peaceful”.

While the “freedom convoy” began in opposition to a mandate for US-Canada truck drivers – rather than an indoor mask mandate – the protest become a wider call for the removal of all Covid restrictions.

The protesters have so far refused to call off the “freedom convoy” despite the ongoing lifting of Covid restrictions highlighted by Mr Hannity.

The Fox News anchor went on to suggest that “if this turns into something else, because he’s (Justin Trudeau) sending people in their to confront them, I can’t gurantee at that point people won’t defend themselves”.

Majority of Canadians call for action, according to poll

13:40 , Gino Spocchia

Despite vocal opposition to Justin Trudeau’s decision to use emergencies powers to end the “freedom convoy”, a majority of Canadians believe the truckers have made their point heard and should go home, according to polling company Angus Reid.

As many as 72 per cent of poll respondents said truckers should “go home, (because) they have made their point,” and 44 per cent said the protest had actually boosted their support for indoor masking requirements.

44 per cent also said they supported the vaccination mandate for US-Canada truckers that ignited the “freedom convoy” among truckers – who Mr Trudeau has said were a “fringe” group among Canadian society.

Those who believe some form of action needed to be taken against the protesters were as high as 93 per cent, the poll revealed – although conservatives were less likely than liberals to say so.

Police in Ottawa and conservative premiers were also blamed for the escalation in protests, and 65 per cent said Mr Trudeau’s comments and actions had worsened the situation.

Trudeau follows father’s lead by invoking Emergencies Act

13:15 , Gino Spocchia

Prime minister Justin Trudeau has become only the second leader of the country to resort to emergency measures in peacetime after he said he would invoke Canada’s rarely used Emergencies Act.

Mr Trudeau announced the development after more than two weeks of demonstrations against a Covid mandate for truckers in downtown Ottawa, as well as the blocking of two border crossings with the US.

The Liberal Party leader appeared to admit that despite the efforts of law enforcement, the protest in Ottawa had “seriously” affected the police’s ability to respond to the situation.

“This illegal occupation needs to end ... the measure of success will be, can we get our supply chains back? Can we end the disruption to livelihoods of people who rely on trade to the United States?,”Mr Trudeau told reporters.

The last leader to invoke such measures was prime minister Pierre Trudeau, and Mr Trudeau’s father, who resorted to emergency powers amid unrest caused by Quebec separatists, as Reuters reports.

Canadian police arrest 11 people with weapons cache

12:50 , Gino Spocchia

Canadian police have arrested 11 people after a massive weapons cache was found at the US-Canada border in Coutts.

Alberta Police said the cache belonged to a “small organised group within the larger” protest blocking the border crossing in Coutts, which borders Montana in the northwestern US.

“Information was received that this group had access to a cache of firearms with a large quantity of ammunition,” police said. “The group was said to have a willingness to use force against the police if any attempts were made to disrupt the blockade.”

Police reportedly began issuing traffic tickets at the weekend and said “We encourage all participants who are involved in this illegal action to leave immediately or relocate to the designated site for the legal protest”.

The protest at Coutts began on 29 January.

Gustaf Kilander reports

Canadian police arrest 11 people with huge weapons cache at ‘Freedom Convoy’ protest

Ottawa wakes up to Emergency Powers Act

12:25 , Gino Spocchia

Protesters who have been camping in front of the Canadian Parliament for more than two weeks still want prime minister Justin Trudeau to meet with them, reports say, after his administration invoked emergency powers to end the “freedom convoy”.

Ontario, a Canadian province which declared a state of emergency last week, backed the move. But premiers in Alberta, Quebec, Manitoba and Saskatchewan opposed the plan, with Quebec’s premier Francois Legault describing the development as risk of putting “oil on the fire.”

“It’s€™ an extreme measure that isn’€™t necessary,” said protester Candice Chapel when asked about the news by Reuters on Monday. Her fellow protesters have meanwhile agreed to leave residential streets south of Canada’s parliament building, the mayor has said.

Placards in support of Canada’s truckers (AFP via Getty Images)
Placards in support of Canada’s truckers (AFP via Getty Images)

Hackers reveal 90,000 donors of ‘freedom convoy'

12:00 , Gino Spocchia

Hackers have released details of the more than 90,000 donations made to Canada’s “freedom convoy” protesters, who were removed from mainstream fundraising platform GoFundMe more than a week ago for violating the platform’s terms.

Supporters instead sent money to truckers through GiveSendGo, a website that has now been taken down after “hacktivists” from the group Anonymous exposed those who have been funding the Canadian protests against a Covid mandate.

Data seen by The Guardian and others on Monday shows that of majority of donations made on GiveSendGo were from the US – although more money was raised in Canada. The funds total more than $8m.

Donations were also allegedly made by individuals in countries including the UK, the Netherlands, Ireland – as well as those with .gov email addresses. That suggests some employees of the US government could have donated to Canada’s “freedom convoy”.

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau has vowed to end funding sources for the truckers after invoking the rarely used Emergencies Act on Monday, allowing his government to freeze bank accounts as well as tow away vehicles.

Ambassador condemns ‘civil liberties suspended’ claims

11:30 , Gino Spocchia

Canadian diplomat and ambassador to the United Nations Robert Keith Rae was among those defending prime minister Justin Trudeau’s decision to invoke the Emergencies Act against anti-Covid mandate truckers.

Tweeting about the development on Monday night, Mr Rae criticised a New York Times headline suggesting Canada’s government had suspended civil liberties.

“Correction: An earlier tweet incorrectly suggested that Trudeau would temporarily suspend civil liberties,” the New York based outlet later wrote. “We deleted the incorrect tweet.”

Mr Trudeau has promised to end funding streams for the protesters and to boost policing in Ottawa after nearly three weeks of occupation of streets around the Canadian parliament. He added that the emergency powers would be used geographically and are time limited.

Emergencies Act criticised by Civil Liberties Association

11:00 , Gino Spocchia

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association has criticised the Trudeau government for invoking the rarely used Emergencies Act on Monday, allowing Canada to end funding streams for the “freedom convoy” truckers and boost the police presence.

On Monday, Mr Trudeau said “we cannot and will not allow illegal and dangerous activities to continue” and that “despite their best efforts, it is now clear that there are serious challenges to law enforcement’s ability to effectively enforce the law,” in and around Canada’s parliament.

The civil liberties association argued that Canadian “sovereignty, security and territorial integrity” had not been threatened by “freedom convoy” protesters, who have blockaded the streets around the country’s parliament into a third week.

A blockade of a major border crossing meanwhile caused delays to trade between Canada and the US for a week, causing losses to businesses and disruption to communities in Canada and the US.

Truckers agree to leave residential areas, mayor says

10:33 , Gino Spocchia

Ottawa mayor Jim Watson says truckers will begin relocating from residential areas south of Wellington Street and the parliamentary precinct, more than two weeks after Canadian truckers blocked streets around Canada’s parliament.

Mayor Watson said “the convoy leaders have started to act on their commitment to move several trucks from the residential district south of Wellington,” and the operation would take a number of “days”.

It comes after reports on Sunday that mayor Watson had reached an agreement with protesters to relocate away from residential areas, which was initially rebuked by leaders of the so called “freedom convoy”.

Ottawa’s downtown is located south of the Wellington thoroughfare, and is home to both local businesses and residents.

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice has meanwhile granted the City of Ottawa's request “for an injunction with respect to the protest”, the mayor said. That will likely lead to further arrests.

ICYMI | Truckers are having ‘significant direct impacts on citizens’ lives, says Psaki

09:30 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that the convoy of Canadian truckers that have occupied parts of Ottawa pose a significant economic risk.

Ms Psaki said president Joe Biden and Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau spoke about the convoy of truckers that are protesting against Covid-19 vaccine mandates.

“The two leaders agreed that the actions of the individuals who are obstructing travel and commerce between our two countries are having significant impact on citizens’ lives and livelihoods,” she said.

Eric Garcia has more.

Psaki says truckers having ‘significant direct impacts on citizens’ lives’

Biden says opposing mask mandates isn’t freedom

08:15 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

United States president Joe Biden dismissed the idea that refusing to take steps to inhibit the spread of Covid-19 was a matter of “personal freedom” in an interview airing Sunday with the Super Bowl.

“If your exercising personal freedom puts someone else in jeopardy, their health in jeopardy, I don’t consider that being very, dealing with freedom,” Mr Biden told NBC’s Lester Holt.

His comments come as former US President Donald Trump said he was “proud” to see that some of the truckers were holding Trump signs as they protested.

“I see they have Trump signs all over the place and I’m proud that they do. But that’s what happens, you can push people so far and our country is a tinderbox too, don’t kid yourself. And there are plenty of our country up there right now,” Mr Trump told Fox and Friends on Saturday.

John Bowden reports.

Biden says opposing mandates isn’t freedom as Trump says he’s ‘proud’ of truckers

Canada will consider peaceful protesters as 'terrorists', says Donald Trump Jr

07:49 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Former United States president Donald Trump’s son claimed that “peacefully protesting” truckers will be considered “terrorists” after the Canadian government invoked a national emergency to quell protests.

Donald Trump Jr wrote on Twitter: “Just like mothers who didn’t want their children to be indoctrinated with CRT propaganda were called Terrorists now people who fund the peacefully protesting truckers in Canada will be considered terrorists”.

“They’re literally changing their laws to make it so. Leftist Tyranny,” the Republican leader added.

'Go home', says Canada's transport minister

07:12 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Canadian transport minister Omar Alghabra on Monday said that “the message to the illegal blockaders is clear”.

Asking the protesters to “go home”, the minister said on Twitter: “Breaking the law is hurting hard-working middle-class families.

“This is not how we do things in Canada,” he added.

Professor claims he’s organising US version of ‘Freedom Convoy’

06:51 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

A doctor who was fired from a teaching position at UC Irvine for refusing to get vaccinated is reportedly trying to organise a US version of the “Freedom Convoy” coronavirus vaccine protest that will arrive in Washington DC in early March.

Dr Aaron Kheriaty, a doctor of psychiatry, appeared on right-wing media figure Dan Bongino’s show and claimed he was organising a US version of the “trucker” convoy that has disrupted Canada’s capital city, Ottawa, for two weeks.

Graig Graziosi has more.

Professor fired for refusing jab says he’s organising US version of ‘Freedom Convoy’

Trudeau declares national emergency

06:35 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau on Monday invoked rarely used emergency powers to quell the truckers protest.

“The federal government has invoked the Emergencies Act to supplement provincial and territorial capacity to address the blockades and occupations,” the prime minister said at a news conference.

“The blockades are harming our economy and endangering public safety. We cannot and will not allow illegal and dangerous activities to continue,” he added.

The emergency powers came into immediate effect and will last for 30 days.

Canadian police arrest 11 with weapons cache

06:17 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

The Alberta police on Monday arrested 11 persons and recovered a weapons cache at the US-Canada border within a small group aligned with the self-styled “Freedom Convoy”.

The authorities seized 13 long guns, handguns, multiple sets of body armour, a machete, a large quantity of ammunition, and high capacity magazines.

The police, in a statement, said that they “recently became aware of a small organized group within the larger” protest blocking the border crossing in Coutts, which borders Montana in the northwestern US.

Gustaf Kilander reports.

Canadian police arrest 11 people with huge weapons cache at ‘Freedom Convoy’ protest

06:11 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of the trucker protest in Canada.